Most garden weeds start by seed, according to Tasha Greer, an Epicurean homesteader and author of Weed-Free Gardening: A Comprehensive and Organic Approach to Weed Management. “However, some also spread from one area to another by runners on top of soil or rhizomes under soil,” Greer tells mbg. While some weeds may be dormant or die back in the winter, they can regrow in spring or summer.
“The main culprits that cause weeds to suddenly break dormancy and grow like crazy are soil disturbance, bare or underplanted soil, insufficient water, poor drainage, sudden changes in soil temperature, and over-fertilization,” Greer adds.
In other words, weeds are everywhere, waiting to happen! And beyond being an eyesore, weeds can impact the overall health of your garden over time. “If allowed to become established, they can rob cultivated plants of resources like soil nutrients, water, and light,” says Greer. “Some weeds can even influence long-term soil health by encouraging populations of certain bacteria or fungi to increase. Those fungi and bacteria can then alter the soil pH and nutrient availability, endangering even well-established perennials like shrubs and trees.”
Fret not, though. There are ways to combat weeds at home. And while the first instinct for those who don’t want to buy harsh conventional treatments may be to turn to apple cider vinegar, that’s far from your only option.